Steeped in nostalgia, fairy bread is relatively simple with only three ingredients, yet it is a ferociously defended part of the country’s national identity (and New Zealand’s as well).
So what exactly is fairy bread? Well, here’s the big reveal: it’s white bread sliced into triangles, spread with butter and topped with rainbow sprinkles. That’s it.
It’s the inherent lack of complication that contributes to fairy bread’s army of ready defenders. Those three ingredients are considered sacred and unchangeable; should anything be added or altered, the dish is transformed into something else entirely.
In regards to ingredients, one important thing to note is that what Americans call sprinkles are referred to as “hundreds and thousands” down under, but not just any colorful bits of sugar will do.
“The hundreds and thousands have to be the hard, round kind."
-Simon Thomson, a Kiwi travel writer and fairy bread aficionado
The bread itself can’t just be any old loaf of gluten; it has to be standard white bread from the grocery store, pre-sliced.
“It's the stuff of everyone's childhood birthday parties. It's also an easy party food for kids to prepare themselves."
- Mardi Michels, Aussie cookbook author
And fairy bread is experiencing something of a moment these days. There are nearly 40,000 posts on Instagram tagged with #fairybread. Of course, it helps that the treat is so inherently photogenic.